If you are using an email service provided by your ISP, you should switch to an independent one. The problem with an ISP’s email service is that if you switch ISPs you won’t then be able to access your email. It is provided as a free service to its customers and if you are no longer a customer then either you will lose access to your email or you will be charged for the privilege.
There are many independent email services and Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com, GMX and Inbox.com are just a few. You’ll find many more with a Google or Bing search. With one of these you can switch ISPs as often as you want and still access your mail. If you haven’t yet moved to an independent provider you should do so now. Of course it is a major hassle switching email addresses when you have to inform everyone you know, your bank, online stores you shop at and so on, but it is worth it in the long run.
The email services listed are all web-based and this means that they can be accessed using just a web browser. One advantage of this is that you can check your email from any computer anywhere in the world providing it has internet access and a browser. You can check your mail from home, at work, on holiday, and so on. Many services can be accessed from a mobile phone and a tablet too. You don’t need to be at home on your home PC, or sat at your desk in the office with your work computer to check your email.
Not everyone likes to access their email through a web browser and they prefer an email program running on their computer. All the services listed above can be accessed using traditional email software. This means you can have your cake and eat it, with email software on your computer and access through a browser too.
An advantage of having email client software and using it for web mail is that you have a copy of every email on your computer. If you lose access to your web mail account for some reason, you still have all your emails.
There are many email clients and Windows 8 has one on the Start screen. If you use Outlook.com for email, you’ll find that it works OK. However, some people don’t like Start screen apps or they are used to Outlook Express on the desktop and want something similar. Desktop email clients are more powerful and have more features and functions.
On the desktop then, you could use Windows Live Mail. This is one of the components of Windows Essentials from Microsoft and the bundle contains other useful software too. Windows Live Mail works with Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and other online email services. You can add multiple accounts and it will keep the email on your computer in sync with your email account online.
Thunderbird is from the same company that produces the Firefox web browser. It has been around for years and the latest version is excellent. There are a couple of advantages to using Thunderbird and one is that there are extensions available that add extra features. It’s like Firefox in this respect and some of the extensions are pretty useful.
Another advantage is that there is a portable version. This does not install into Windows, it just extracts to a folder that can be on any internal or external disk drive, USB flash memory drive and so on. If you buy a new PC you can simply copy the folder to the new PC. If you want to back it up, you just copy the folder. It simplifies tasks like moving and backing up your email.
IncrediMail is an email program that tries to turn messaging into a form of entertainment. It uses fun graphics to make creating and receiving email fun. If you want to send messages that have cartoon characters, colourful backgrounds, objects and animations, this mail program is right up your street. You wouldn’t want to use it for business email though.